GWR 4900 Class 4965 Rood Ashton Hall

The Great Western Railway steam locomotive no. 4965 Rood Ashton Hall is a 4-6-0 Hall class locomotive. It is preserved at Tyseley Locomotive Works. The engine operates in its Great Western Railway green livery, and performs regularly on the Shakespeare Express, operated by Vintage Trains, between Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as various excursions.

Rood Ashton Hall
4964 Rood Ashton Hall (1).jpg
4965 at Tyseley
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
 • Whyte4-6-0
OperatorsGreat Western Railway (GWR)
British Railways (BR)
ClassHall class
Numbers4983; renumbered 4965
Official nameAlbert Hall; renamed Rood Ashton Hall
Polar Star(temporarily)
Current ownerVintage Trains Ltd
DispositionOperational, certified for mainline use


This locomotive was previously identified as 4983 Albert Hall, having been rebuilt in 1962 using parts from both original engines Albert Hall and Rood Ashton Hall. Both locomotives had their numbers stamped onto their respective parts. The purchasing group of enthusiasts thought they were buying 4983 Albert Hall but after later restoration discovered some of the parts had been stamped 4965 and some 4983.[1] Rood Ashton Hall now has plates and numbers on one side that say 4983 Albert Hall for enthusiasts to see once again but still hauls Rood Ashton Hall's original tender. Albert Hall's original tender was a large Collett tender,[2] so the only incarnation of 4983 Albert Hall and tender is Hornby's tri-ang model.

Rood Ashton Hall and pannier tank 7760

In November 2008, Rood Ashton Hall was taken out of service for overhaul after hauling the Rood Ashton Hall Farewell train from Solihull to Didcot Parkway.

The engine's 10-year overhaul took just a few months due to an ongoing programme of maintenance work that had been previously carried out during periods of low main line activity. It returned to the mainline in October 2009 and completed its full ten-year operating certificate before being withdrawn again in September 2019 for a further overhaul, which it awaits.

Right before being withdrawn in 2019, the engine was temporarily renamed Polar Star, and was used to pull the Polar Express Train Ride between Birmingham Moor Street and Tyseley,[3] albeit having a headlamp mounted on the center of the smokebox door. With the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic and the engine still being out of service awaiting overhaul, the 2020 Birmingham ride was canceled.

The engine complete with tender can be seen in the final 30 seconds of the 1958 black and white film "The Key" starring William Holden and Sophia Loren as it pulls out backwards from the railway station. The old British Railways logo has been blacked out on the tender but the name plate "Rood Ashton Hall" is clearly visible.


  1. ^ "Rail buffs on wrong track (and train)". BBC News. BBC. 1 February 1998. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  2. ^ "4965 Rood Ashton Hall, Tysley Locomotive Works". Steam In Trust. Vintage Trains Ltd. Winter 1998. Archived from the original on 13 August 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2007. The completion of this repair [in 1962] is benchmarked photographically by the fitting for the only time in 4983’s existence with a 4000 gallon Hawksworth type tender. ... photographs of 4983 at Swindon just prior to the 1962 repair when it still had a Collett tender reveal two distinct differences to the frame
  3. ^ Hub, The Railway (30 January 2019). "'Polar Express' delights Birmingham crowds - The Railway Hub". Retrieved 16 December 2020.

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